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Kickstarter Games: Where They Are Now

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the diving-scrooge-mcduck-style-through-pools-of-money dept.

Businesses 97

We keep hearing success stories of indie video game projects that found funding through Kickstarter. Some have simply met their goals, while others have far exceeded the money they original asked for. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has provided updates on the progress of a huge list of funded projects. Many projects turned out to have unrealistic release dates. For example, Double Fine Adventure missed its August timeframe because it's getting a new engine. The new Leisure Suit Larry missed its October plans and hasn't been terribly open about a new one. However, most projects are humming along nicely, and some, like FTL: Faster Than Light have been completed and well received. The article exhorts all developers working on these games to make communication a priority, since the users are the ones who put up the cash, and deserve to know what's going on.

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97 comments

Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42123977)

"We keep hearing success stories of indie video game projects that found funding through Kickstarter. Some have simply met their goals, while others have far exceeded the money they original asked for."

You never hear about the mini games which are made without any expectations of profit and are hosted privately without any ads or asking for any donations, though. Such as Stranded [kimmoa.se] .

Re:Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year ago | (#42124785)

You've been trying to advertise that game of yours a few times before here on Slashdot, though, and instead of profits you're clearly expecting praise. You're not getting either from me, though.

Re:Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42125471)

"Your browser apparently is not modern enough to support Canvas. If you are blocking scripts, you need to stop that to stand a chance of playing the game. Take a look at a screenshot of what you are missing out on."

Classy.

Re:Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125113)

child porn is not welcome at slashdot

fuck off

Re:Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126025)

I can't read the text on the page or in the game itself. Go read the article about people rejecting unusable videos and apply the same concept to video games.

Re:Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (1)

Skynyrd (25155) | about a year ago | (#42126393)

Um, it seems to have stalled my browser. Latest Firefox.

Keep working!

Re:Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42127151)

Warning: Flash apparently is blocked or unavailable. This game relies on Flash for the sound, due to HTML 5 Audio being horrible crap. Sorry. Hopefully, the pathetic standard will improve in the future. If you are blocking Flash, you should now see a square that you can click or something to enable it temporarily on this page.

Re:Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | about a year ago | (#42127831)

Your game is crap - I followed the instructions but having "hold down the left mouse button for a description" and "hold down the left mouse button to interact" means that no matter what I do, I always get only a description.

You Idiot, did you even try plaing your own game?

Re:Enough "Kickstarter" spam, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42128719)

Wow, that "game" fucking sucks.

Banner Saga (5, Interesting)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#42124005)

I'm beta testing for the Banner Saga game, it's coming along. Also with Leisure suit Larry, because they raised so much in the kickstarter they added extra content to the game, which extended the release date to fit the extra content in. I get regular updates and I'm satisfied that things are moving along.

Re:Banner Saga (3, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year ago | (#42126193)

because they raised so much in the kickstarter they added extra content to the game

But isn't that breaking the promise to the initial support group? Why not say, great! we can finish and add bonus content, later, or a sequel, whatever.

Maybe I am just bitter because I once worked at a start-up in the dot-bomb era when we had a product "ready to go" but got so much extra venture capital money we had to Eff it up to "raise the barriers to entry, for competitors"... and give the "hockey stick" growth-chart some extra "gravitas"...

Long story, short; "If you play with something long enough, you'll break it..."

Re:Banner Saga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42127049)

What broken promises? People had the option of un-backing the projects when the stretch goals were hit and more and more people pledged when they were getting close to those goals. Anybody that thinks that something like a devkit won't extend the time by at least a bit, is a dumb ass that shouldn't be backing projects on KS.

Most of the stretch goals I see don't really work as bonus content and KS is largely a place for people who don't like DLC. Plus, when people do propose adding sequels you get all sorts of bitching about how they should have spent the money on the original game. That was one of the issues they had with Tom Hall's project.

Re:Banner Saga (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#42128211)

Leisure Suite Larry (LSL) is a remake of a point and click adventure game. The additional content consisted of new areas and additional puzzles that was to be worked into the game itself. I think it would be very difficult to work additional content into the game after the fact. Some other things, like Banner Saga, it could be done after the fact in order to meet deadlines. I'm a software developer and understand the importance of deadlines, but I also understand the concept of scope creep and how that can affect a deadline so I think I'm probably a little more lax then others when it comes to meeting deadlines. If LSL doesn't come out until next October, then I'll be a little peeved.

Not to disparage anyone... (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#42124007)

I'm not trying to bad mouth any particular game developer here,

But this is why you don't want to put a whole lot of money into companies or brands you don't know.

Wasteland 2 sounds great - and it might be, oh how I hope it might be. But when was the last time those guys made anything? I'm willing to gamble a bit, but you have to be prepared to lose.

Obsidian and Project Eternity, well they've been around a while, they've made some good games (that made a lot of money, not necessarily for the studio, but that made a lot of money) so I figure I can risk a bit more on them.

Chris Roberts (Wing commander Fame) and his Star Citizen... again, like wasteland, I can hope, but I figure the odds of losing my money are high on this one too.

And those are just the big ones. People asking for 10 grand, or 50 grand or even less than half a million, I don't have a lot of confidence in their ability to pull it off. 7 or 8 people for a year costs a million bucks and you need a couple of years to make a decent game. You can have some fun games that are faster to make than that, but odds are if you want content it takes time and money, and if you're not asking for that kind of cash your goals are unrealistic at best.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124185)

I think a lot of them are using the model of "I'm living in my mom's basement, and me and my college buds just need enough money for Ramen and Internet access while we develop." It can sometimes work, but I sure as heck wouldn't want to try it.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124669)

Why not somewhere in between? There's a lot of space between "7 or 8 people for a year costs a million bucks" and "me and my college buds just need enough money for Ramen and Internet access". I think there are a lot of possibilities for indie game success within this huge gap.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year ago | (#42126233)

I am sure there is a lot of "in between"... isn't that what book publishers, movie studios, and record labels do (yeah, yeah, I know...) But the point is those commercial enterprises know they will be burned 9 times out of 10. That's just business, and fancy accounting helps paper it over.

How many $50 donations are you going to kick into social media crowd-sourcing if you only get one "$50 deal" and one (9 combined) "$450... not even a write-off"...?

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124207)

It's the psychological value. I've played X-Com EU for a very long time, and over the years I kept looking for the next bext thing, an improved version, but everything that came after was severely lacking. If someone would announce an X-Com EU clone or newer version that would truly follow the pattern of the first one, then I would gladly put some money for it. Oh, and let's not get started, Master of Orion, Alpha Centauri ... the list goes on.

I expect that's what other people feel about their favorite games.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about a year ago | (#42124509)

Alpha Centauri ...>

Without a doubt the game I most want to see re-envisioned on modern hardware.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (3, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#42124747)

Given its popularity, I'm surprised there hasn't been an AC2. The Civ games keep rolling on, and a number of the changes they made in the more recent editions could stand to be added to, or at least adapted into, a new Alpha Centauri game (I'm thinking of things like allies pooling research progress and hexagonal tiles and global happiness in addition to local happiness, here) while a number of the things I loved about AC (customizable units, psi combat, xenofungus starting as a problematic tile-wasting nuisance and become one of the best tile improvements in the course of a long game, etc.) have never brought to the Civ games.

I think that, after the lessons learned (both good and bad) about Civ5 and its expansion, it's high time to make a new AC game that incorporates the best lessons from AC (and its expansion) and the last few Civ releases. Of course, given the popularity of Civ, it doesn't seem likely that this would need to be a kickstarter game, but I'd fund it if I could.

Just... PLEASE don't make it Steam exclusive, OK? Distributing on there is fine. Using is as a method for joining games is cool, as long as I can also direct connect. But requiring a moderately resource-hungry and mildly buggy DRM client be running when I want to play the game is not cool, and prohibiting any possibility of gifting or re-selling the game after installing it once (even if I uninstall it) is much less so.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125713)

Given its popularity, I'm surprised there hasn't been an AC2.

If I recall correctly, EA holds the rights to the Alpha Centauri franchise and is just sitting on it, so Firaxis can't make another one.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124567)

Xenonauts

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124595)

Check out Xenonauts [xenonauts.com] . If you pre-order, you can alpha-test each build, and they're getting close to beta. I've fiddled around with it in the alpha stages, and it looks very promising. It's a lot of fun, but also buggy, which you'd expect from an alpha.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124293)

Most people don't understand how Kickstarter works.

Kickstarter is NOT a pre-ordering method. It's not a way to get early access and perks to a game. It's to fund an idea. If that idea doesn't pan out, that doesn't matter. You funded something you believed in.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#42124617)

I understand fully.

But I still don't want to throw away money on a game that won't ever materialize.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (4, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42124875)

I think of it this way:

I can chip in a few bucks for the chance to have a game that I'm interested in developed down the road, accepting all the risks that come with game development.

Or, I can say I'm only going to pay for finished games that I can definitely get with no risk (except for the risk of buggy stuff that's never fixed or shitty console to PC ports that I regret buying) and, because nobody bother taking a risk on the smaller guy trying something that a niche audience is interested in, it never was able to be made and therefore, it'll never be on any shelf for me to buy. But I can go ahead and spend $65 on the next Bro-Face-Shooter-Dude-Of-Duty-Honor-Medals 14.

I would not advise someone drops their last $15 supporting a crowd-funded project, but if you have some "disposable" income and you care enough to see something created that has an audience, but not a big enough audience to appeal to a publisher who only wants games that'll turn $100 million into half a billion and doesn't give as hit about turning a million into five million, then go for it. It's better than playing the lottery and even if it doesn't ultimately result in a finished product, you often get something out of it.

For example, Project GODUS -- Peter Molyneux is engaging with the community on a nearly daily basis by sharing in brief design discussion sessions and then taking the resulting community commentary into consideration for the next discussion. And others are doing documentaries or constant blogging for their projects. And some offer interesting opportunities to meet people you might not otherwise get to do. Or get collectible things you might not otherwise have a chance to get. Stuff a finished product published by EA on a Walmart shelf won't ever allow you.

The ultimate future of crowd-funding is questionable. We just don't know, yet. But it definitely has potential and while it has a reasonable appeal to some of us, there are also very rational reasons for not wanting to participate. And that's the great thing about the whole crowd-funding thing, potentially: All it should need is enough dedicated fans of a person/product/franchise/genre/whatever to make it a reality. It doesn't have to be a million people. Even if the majority of people hate it, there only need to be enough people who care for it to see it succeed. Direct value-for-value. Directly addressing an audience. A niche. The goal of a smart businessman. There are plenty of things that get produced/funded (both in crowd-funding and in the regular publishing model) that I don't understand or think are total shit. And that's just fine. There is an audience and market for them and they are able to fund it. Good for them and the people who want to play them!

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Applekid (993327) | about a year ago | (#42146863)

The thing is, Kickstarter is all about bypassing the system. But, facts is facts, and the system exists because the system is successful.

Even if you don't want to sell your soul to EA or whoever, the process for developing a game is really no different than any other product.

1. Get investors
Sometimes that investor is yourself. Sometimes it's your family, or someone else who would support your dream fairly unconditionally. You use that initial investment to build a prototype. In development, it might be a proof of concept. In writing, it might be called a rough draft. In filmmaking, it might be a treatment.

2. Use existing raw product to get more investment for refinement.
This would most likely be external investors at this point. They're going to want to see your prototypes and market research and how "credit worthy" (looking for a better word failed me) you are. Your parents or your spouse might have been willing to invest in you, but these folks are gonna want to see ROI. Even if it's a slam dunk, expect a lot of no answers and slammed doors.

3. Refine into something salable
Using that round of investment, you can afford to flesh things out. Maybe instead of a few one-off prototypes for your new carrot peeler, you might have molds made up and a sample run executed. Your game turns into an Alpha, then a Beta, and then RTM.

4. Sell and profit (maybe)
There's risk in all things. Maybe your market research was off. Maybe someone beat you to market. Maybe people just don't a-like-a you face.

The problem with Kickstarter is that it goes right into #4. They're already trying to sell you something before it exists! You might suspect it's more like step #2, getting additional external investors, but if that was the case, Kickstarter backers would be getting back cash-money instead of something else. I guess the choice of the word "backer" instead of "investor" is deliberate.

Some of the Kickstarter initiatives are of what I consider to be pretty valuable properties: Shadowrun, Leisure Suit Larry, Shadowgate. You would think the companies that previously owned them would have done the market research to see if they were still viable, since that's practically money in the bank. I've got to wonder, in excess of backers, how many more copies will be sold? Probably not zero, but the market is already tailing out by release day.

I guess what I'm saying is that, when you have a good idea, you don't need to beg the public at large, and certainly not your target market, to fund it. They're going to be there, waiting with bells on, to buy it. But there's the wisdom of crowds, too. That other companies have already passed on investing in development tells me they're not going to be successful. And at that point, you might as well instead make your game "Darkrun", "Polyester Pants Peter", and "Shadowkey". If the idea of the game isn't as appealing as typing it into some IP that has nostalgia effect, then maybe it shouldn't exist?

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about a year ago | (#42126163)

But I still don't want to throw away money on a game that won't ever materialize.

Neither do most of us (it is a gamble, no matter how hard we try)... but I tend to stick to the established guys (like Wasteland 2) so I have at least a better than 50/50 shot of getting good stuff.

I also think this is great... :)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheapassgames/unexploded-cow-from-cheapass-games [kickstarter.com]

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about a year ago | (#42126375)

Thanks for the link - I never heard if it, but I now have a new game to try the next time I throw a party :)

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#42128305)

Kickstarter is NOT a pre-ordering method. It's not a way to get early access and perks to a game. It's to fund an idea. If that idea doesn't pan out, that doesn't matter. You funded something you believed in.

Except that in a great many cases it is priced to look exactly like a pre-ordering method. The main "perk" is typically the game itself, and they're typically putting that in the 50-100% retail range, and that's as a digital download with no middlemen taking their cut. Many of these projects will end up getting more from the early backers than from each retail sale.

And that leaves us with a rather unappealing risk/reward ratio. A game should a decent order of magnitude more expensive than "a game... maybe... in a year... maybe". The early crowdfunding adopters risk destroying a useful and productive system by burning off all the goodwill in a sweep of self-serving, opportunistic short-termism.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42124385)

InXile? Last thing they did was Choplifter HD, just this year. Before that, Hunted: Demon's Forge in 2011.

As for Chris Roberts, the last major game he did was Freelancer which was late, but ultimately delivered. I'd expect Star Citizen to be similar.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#42124643)

InXile: Right, they've made games. But nothing on the scale of Wasteland 2. Could be good. Could be a trainwreck. Demon's Forge has a meta critic of about 60.

Chris roberts is harder to say, Freelancer might have been his game, but I'm not sure how much of the same studio. One person does not a game make. They're using Unreal, which helps tremendously, but they're still hard to know the future on.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#42125265)

It's already been stated that the new project is more of a starlancer and less of a freelancer.

The two are unfortunately very much mutually exclusive due to freelancer's (one of the) biggest asset being the mouse-controlled flight and heavy optimizations for it which made the game incredibly accessible and fun to play for anyone with first person shooter experience. Starlancer and this new project are apparently doing joystick-controlled flight as the priority and will optimize for that. And that completely rules out mouse-based "FPS-y" control scheme.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42129727)

Not really. Starlancer is about space flight and dogfighting, Freelancer is about trade. They may have mutually exclusive control schemes, but the fun in Freelancer isn't about the control scheme. You could remake Freelancer with a 6 DOF control scheme and it would still be fun. Probably more fun, IMO.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#42134369)

One of the most important concepts of "fun" is to not have to struggle against the controls. They should be your best ally, not your worst enemy.

If you use the standard mouse+keyboard, starlancer's control scheme is your worst enemy by far.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42134567)

Why would you use a standard mouse and keyboard when the joystick is so much better suited for flight games? Using a mouse and keyboard for a space sim is as bad an idea as using a gamepad for an FPS.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#42135431)

Because you already know how to use mouse efficiently, and want to transition this skill, rather than learning from scratch. There's no requirement that the application of that skill remain uber-efficient - so long as it basically works, it's good enough.

Besides, some of us have learned our space sim skills with the mouse. I remember playing through TIE Fighter several times armed with mouse alone, and it was great fun. I don't think I'd even want to replay it with a joystick now.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#42139083)

Same reason I would use it for FPS. Full free flow pixel accurate control scheme is far more natural for a human being then zero-line centric "apply force to change" one such as a joystick.

Essentially starlancer was a flight sim with airplane-style control scheme. Freelancer was FPS control model on flight sim. Difference is that former accepts that you cannot control the craft in the similar way to controlling the body. Instead you can only control the forces applied to the direction changes of the aircraft (the joystick model). Latter is about you controlling the actual end result of the movement and is far more natural for human to accept. It's also obviously far less realistic, but I don't think we want to talk about realism in a space flight game that flies like an atmospheric aircraft regardless.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

am 2k (217885) | about a year ago | (#42125339)

Chris roberts is harder to say, Freelancer might have been his game, but I'm not sure how much of the same studio. One person does not a game make. They're using Unreal, which helps tremendously, but they're still hard to know the future on.

They're using the CryEngine3 (as stated on their FAQ [robertsspa...stries.com] ). The free version of the engine is a huge PITA due to the fairly obvious bugs and complete lack of documentation, but I guess they'll get some very special treatment by CryTek.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125437)

I considered Star Citizen to be a fairly safe investment, largely because they've got a prototype right now that I would have paid $20 for. Just for that. A couple fighters, a carrier, one character, temp guns, no story. This is similar to how I purchased Kerbal Space Program(at about $20), even though it's in an early alpha stage. I consider it money well spent.

I considered Double Fine's new game a similarly safe investment for completely different reasons, however. Basically, they'd either make a great game, and I'd get to see the process, or they'd make a train wreck, and I'd get to watch.

It's all about perceived value, really.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

V for Vendetta (1204898) | about a year ago | (#42131079)

I considered Star Citizen to be a fairly safe investment [...]

There's another reason: Star Citizen is different from most Kickstarter projects mentioned here, though. Funding isn't done completely by the crowd, but in this case it's a mixture of traditional VC + crowd-funding. Put (very) simply, Roberts got a deal with investors stating "if I raise (x) money via crowd-funding, you invest (y) money in this game." Lest not forget that he crowd-funded both via Kickstarter and his own web site. You could go so far as to say the crowd-funding was more of a (well-done) PR stunt and reliable test of how many people are interested in such a game instead of a real needed fund-raising.

Side note: while I haven't pledged, I wish those projects all the best, because that would show the big publishers that there's a market outside of version X of established game A.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

RCC42 (1457439) | about a year ago | (#42124539)

A lot of kickstarter (and indiegogo) projects already have funding or development costs raised through other sources, using the kickstarter as publicity as well as extra funds raising. In many cases the games in question are being made anyway, the kickstarter is just security or feature expansion.

That said, some of the low-funding-goals kickstarters are done by 'ramen and coke' developers who want so badly to make their games they are willing to live on breadcrumbs and hope while coding. These are people so desperate to make games they pay themselves next to nothing so they can get it done.

Not saying it always turns out rainbows and sunshine for all involved parties, but it's accurate.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#42124661)

Indeed, Kickstarter is a great way to go to a bank and say 'we got 5 million dollars from people who will essentially buy the game without it being done yet, give us 5 million more and we'll be able to pay you back'.

The guys willing to live on ramen noodles and work in an apartment I appreciate, but that's not a way to get a game done and done well generally.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124985)

STFU

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#42125595)

For most of the games to which I've pledged, it's been to encourage the development of Linux games. I'm trying to do my small part to stimulate that market, even if it's a bit of a long shot.

For Defense Grid Containment, I figured it was likely to succeed, I love the game, and one of their tiers (not achieved) was Linux support. So it was a no-brainer.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42130533)

I also pledged (and am currently testing out the Containment beta). They did say they would still work towards the other goals (Ex: New Engine, Defense Grid 2) but I am curious if the new engine they're developing for Defense Grid 2 would have had Linux support anyway.

Re:Not to disparage anyone... (1)

jthill (303417) | about a year ago | (#42133901)

Well, I dunno, I just got FTL and it's got that MOO feel to it at least at the start. We don't need no steenking candy.

Star Citizen (3, Informative)

Bodhammer (559311) | about a year ago | (#42124061)

I pledged out of nostalgia for Wing Commander, Freespace 2, and Iwar 2. I'm confident he will deliver.

Re:Star Citizen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124117)

freelancer sucked

Re:Star Citizen (1)

StarTuxia (2767965) | about a year ago | (#42126009)

Me too, and I think he (Chris Roberts) learned a great deal from Freelancer. I don't hold "failure's" as a negative thing, rather in most cases this thing called 'experience', and he's set the release for November 2014, so that's a good distance away. I'm going to be even more broke with Elite Dangerous though, and I trust DB for the same reasons, sure any development could go wrong, but its better to take the risk *you can afford* and be awarded with ground breaking PC games, rather than wondering "What could have been". There will be more video's from Elite soon enough too.

I feel like we should be on that list (5, Informative)

wintersynth (915045) | about a year ago | (#42124275)

BlindSide [kickstarter.com] was an early Kickstarter success, raising only 200% of our goal, about $14,000, but we released our beta on time, as promised.

Granted, it was the last day of the month and we stayed up 36 hours straight doing it, but we did it.

Maybe it's time for a little "how to manage slipped release dates" guide. I think it would look like this:
1) Communicate
2) Communicate
3) Communicate
:-)

Re:I feel like we should be on that list (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year ago | (#42124845)

BlindSide [kickstarter.com]

I've never heard of that game and I know it's not to my tastes, but damn, I gotta hand it to you guys for daring to try an entirely new gaming experience. It sure is atleast innovative if nothing else! Good luck with your game and remember to have as much fun developing it as your eventual gamers will have playing it :)

Re:I feel like we should be on that list (2)

wintersynth (915045) | about a year ago | (#42124933)

Thanks! Yeah, it's a bit of a commitment for people to try the game, seeing as they can't see and monsters are attacking them. It's a little easier on iOS. We finished it and are proud to have been nominated for an IndieCade award and two Brazilian International Game Festival awards :-). And we did have a lot of fun making it!

Re:I feel like we should be on that list (1)

morcego (260031) | about a year ago | (#42125605)

Man, this is an amazing project. Congratulations. I will be buying it later tonight.

Re:I feel like we should be on that list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126069)

Having funded Jammerup on kickstarter I can say that if one overfunds there is a strong desire to utilise the investment in a responsible manner, and that can take more time. We shipped a few weeks late. We were about 60% overfunded I can see that those who are cursed with even more to spend would be tempted to spend even longer.

Still confused about what people want (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42124283)

As an observer, and a sometime backer, I'm still very confused about what people want. Some projects with no gameplay shown get lots of backing (Godus). While others with similar information are slow to takeoff (Thorvalla). I like to see gameplay, but plenty of RPG projects are getting funded with a minimal video pitch and no gameplay. I really want to see gameplay! It sucks but an indie has got to put in the three months or more to get some animated screens up there or else I don't think some games have a chance (chicken or egg).

Re:Still confused about what people want (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year ago | (#42124963)

Sometimes people want brand-recognition or some famous name behind a project, and will thusly agree to back the project even if there was nothing else than stick figures, and when there is no brand-recognition or a famous name behind the project these people will refer to the project's popularity as a measure of worth.

There was an article on Ars Technica about a similar phenomenon a while back: a group of researchers performed tests on various groups of people and found out that some people actually prefer less specific information and would actually run the opposite direction of products with highly detailed packaging -- these people were also much more likely to just choose a product with some familiar name or a product that was seemingly popular among these persons' peers, even if the product was actually of pretty poor quality. The other group of people were the kinds who tend to drift towards analytical careers and similar, and who preferred to have as much information as possible and were much more likely to ignore the brand or peer pressure.

Re:Still confused about what people want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126773)

Also, I'm confused about the whole idea of 'backer'. It's not investing, as there is no return. Despite what people say its really pre-buying. I want to see a place where investing 5K in a game gets me .5% of the profits - not dinner with the developers LOL!

Re:Still confused about what people want (1)

Rhaban (987410) | about a year ago | (#42128159)

The lower backing tiers may be like pre-buying, but the higher ones are not investments nor pre-commands. It's donating money for a cause you believe in.

Re:Still confused about what people want (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#42135453)

The problem is that, as soon as you get into return on investment territory, it would become a legally regulated activity, with all that entails. Meaning that you wouldn't be able to just login using your social network account and plunk down $20 for some project that sounds interesting.

FTL: Faster Than Light (4, Informative)

RocketScientist (15198) | about a year ago | (#42124421)

FTL is an incredibly fun game that they mention shipped pretty close to their timeline. All software timelines are somewhat fungible, and game producer provided timelines even more so. But they got pretty close. And the shipping product is *great* and was on steam sale last weekend. Rounds don't take a stupidly long time, the game's pretty replayable, etc.

Good times.

FTL (2)

Jaysyn (203771) | about a year ago | (#42124481)

FTL & Xenonauts (the 1st alpha at least) are great fun. The only KS alpha that I've tried that I'm not confident about is The Dead Linger.

It hasn't been all that long. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42124603)

Let's remember that while games have been funded on Kickstarter for a long time, the current stream of them didn't really start until these past ten months; and only some as far back as that. We're not going to see the results of a lot of these projects until 2013. Even ones that are scheduled to be done by the end of 2012. If EA misses dates with hundred million dollar games, you can expect one or two guy projects with fifty grand or less to slip, too.

I've backed about 350 crowd-funded projects, over the last couple of years. I track them in a giant spreadsheet with as much info on each as I can, including current status (fulfilled, partially fulfilled, overdue, etc). Several have completed. A few have gone beyond the delivery date, but have maintained regular updates and contact with their backers, and most of the rest are still in-progress.

There's not really enough data to figure it out, right now. The real story will start to come together in another year. Having pledged about $7,000 USD and payed about $2,200 USD, I'm not really worried. Many projects will succeed. A few will fail. Most of those will fail, despite the best of intentions and efforts (if it happens in big titles, it'll happen for little indie projects). Maybe one or two will fail due to nefarious reasons. You can nay-say all you want, but the truth is that none of us really know, for sure (which is part of the reason why I back so many projects and track them on a spread-sheet -- I want to actually know the realities of game-related crowd-funding over the long term; not a bunch of anecdotal stuff).

Also, I sent to RockPaperShotgun weeks ago a very lengthy email that contained access to my spreadsheet as well as a long story of my philosophy of backing projects (I think of it as the poor-man's attempt to be a patron-of-the-arts) and a list of things I've learned that crowd-funding project leaders could take a lesson from, over the backing and observation of hundreds of projects. A lot of that seems like it made its way into that article (or that they've made very similar observations over their backing history).

Re:It hasn't been all that long. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125085)

Are you willing to share the data that you have gathered? It would be interesting to see and learn from it. Thanks!

Re:It hasn't been all that long. (5, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42125289)

Sure. Here's a google docs spreadsheet of it that I keep fairly up-to-date (maybe not to-the-minute, but I update it maybe weekly or more).

I might write an article some day about it or something, but other than that, I have no particular "claim" to the work, so people are welcome to use it however it may be of interest to them.

http://goo.gl/AiGW2 [goo.gl]

Re:It hasn't been all that long. (2)

zyzko (6739) | about a year ago | (#42127863)

That is super cool (you releasing your data).

I see you have made a lot of $1-5 pledges, are you pledging just because you are interested in a project and pledging gives you notifications about updates or do you believe that micro-pledging can actually work (get a hundred thousand people pledging $1 instead of 5000 pledging $20)? As I see it you have two categories (correct if I'm wrong) - you have those that you "chip in" in a spirit of support and those you actually want the end-result (pledge is high enough to get at least digital download). I ask because among my friends I see those two categories, there are those who understand that pledging is just a way to support something (and amount spent varies, there are those who pledge $1-5 just to show support and those who pledge $150 just to get a t-shirt) and then there are those who view their pledge as a "pre-order" and the latter group is the one that worries me if in a year or so we see major projects fail and/or expectations on smaller ones are not met. This could really hurt Kickstarter and that's why I seriously hope projects study the pitfalls beforehand and maybe ask advice from people like you...

Re:It hasn't been all that long. (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42132783)

In general, I approach crowd-funding as a mix of "damn, I really want this to happen and I really want this thing that is the final product" and a poor man's being a patron-of-the-arts. Not every project catches my personal attention, but they're often still worth kicking a couple bucks in just to show support and encourage the creator of the thing to continue creating. Sure, I'm not some wealthy benefactor, but a buck or five is a buck or five.

I also use a buck as a sort of bookmark. Most crowd-funding platforms have a "reminder" type of system, but I figure that if I'm interested enough to bookmark your project, I can man-up and give you a dollar for it, too. (Though there are a few exceptions for things I really don't want to necessarily support, but do want to remember before the fundraising ends). And, in a few cases, I'll kick in a dollar just so I can have access to the comments and updates for projects that I may even *not* like. For instance, there have been a couple projects that I found very questionable. One that I was sure was an outright scam. After doing a lot of research on the people behind it, I pledged a dollar so I could keep getting their updates and comment, if necessary, in the comment page.

Overall, I guess it falls into the following categories:

* I really want this thing to happen!
* Huh. That's sort of interesting. I guess I'll support that and get the thing when it's done.
* Doesn't really appeal to me, but here's a few bucks, because we need more people making more neat stuff to balance out all the AAA-Bro-Dude-Face-Shooter billion dollar games/movies/whatever.
* I don't really want to part with much money for this, but here's a buck to show my support. And/Or: This is worth bookmarking, so I'll man-up and give you a buck, too (in some cases this also means I'm unsure of the support I want to ultimately offer and may go back by the end of the fundraising and pledge more).
* I want to keep an eye on this, even if it's shady or dumb, so here's a buck so I can participate. (This isn't something I would otherwise be doing, if I weren't also gaining knowledge/experience of crowd-funding in general, to help other people. If I were only funding stuff entirely as an "end-user/buyer", these are things I would just skip over entirely and never think about again).

I think most crowd-funding is positioned very much in a "you're pre-ordering this thing!" sort of way, so it's reasonable for people to approach backing them as such. They just need to recognize that there is an assumed risk, here. If you must have a guarantee, then only buy finished products on shelves (which sometimes end up sucking, anyway). Though not the case with all crowd-funding projects, I see backing many of them as saying "If people don't support this, it won't ever BE a finished product on shelves that you can buy. Your risk and "investment" is in making sure this thing has a shot at actually ever EXISTING, because publishers aren't going to make a hundred million bucks off of it and wont' show any interest."

I wouldn't advise people chip $15 into a project if that $15 is precious to them. If times are tight, spend that $15 toward a solid game that exists now and that you can get entertainment and pleasure out of.

Of course, there are other things you can get in return, from these projects. For example, I got to spend a bunch of time with John Romero and, separately, Will Wright. Under no other condition would I have had that opportunity. Even if the project that was for fails, I still got something pretty sweet out of it.

Re:It hasn't been all that long. (1)

unleasher (2784621) | about a year ago | (#42134071)

Thanks so much for posting this... very fascinating and I liked reading about how you chose to support certain projects. Looking forward to looking over the spreadsheet!

Ring Runner (1)

SirAstral (1349985) | about a year ago | (#42124693)

I found Ring Runner on Kick Starter and those guys have a stable and playable Demo out as well as trying to get it onto Steam with greenlight. For a game made by a couple of brothers they did a fantastic job so far I think. If you like top down fast action space shooters then you should at least give the demo a try and see what you think! It's like Asteroids on Serious Roids!

I have seen 'experienced' programmers do far worse that these unknown guys.

http://ringrunner.net/ [ringrunner.net]

I thought FTL bombed? (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year ago | (#42124817)

Steam forums had comments to say that people had paid for it, had it delivered and it didn't start, didn't work, no refunds, murdered their dog, impregnated their daughter, etc. I'm behind a filter here so can't check, but ...?

Gaygirlie may well be right...

No it did quite well (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#42124949)

Game was released and works fine, and has done decent Steam sales after the release. It's had pretty good reviews by the press too.

Re:No it did quite well (1)

am 2k (217885) | about a year ago | (#42125373)

Game was released and works fine, and has done decent Steam sales after the release. It's had pretty good reviews by the press too.

At one point it was featured with a huge banner on the main Steam store page, it'd better sell well with that kind of advertising :)

Re:I thought FTL bombed? (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | about a year ago | (#42124987)

It has a Metacritic rating of 84. All the reviews I read were quite good. And every PC game has a number of reports of "it won't work".

It was me however that impregnated their dog and murdered their daughter.

Re:I thought FTL bombed? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | about a year ago | (#42125079)

I had zero issues, technical or otherwise, with FTL.

Still dealing with game killing bugs with Mechwarrior Online...

Wasteland 2 (1)

echostorm (865318) | about a year ago | (#42125111)

Wasteland 2 was never meant to be as huge of a project as it has become, and they have been incredibly good about keeping everyone informed and up to date on whats going on. At least once a week on Facebook they are linking to new artwork, music, footage or just letting us know that they are still here and working hard on making the best game possible. I don't think too many of us will be disappointed, they know what the community expects from this release, and they are just as excited as we are to finally see their years and years of frustration and hard work come together in this project..

Re:Wasteland 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125385)

Indeed, I remember the nailbiting to see if there would be a mod kit provided. It won't be at launch, IIRC, but the tools will be there. Which is fine for me, I'm more worried about the system requirements on these games, because they rarely if ever are able to give an estimate. a $15 pledge gets a lot more expensive if you have to buy a new GPU in order to play.

Re:Wasteland 2 (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#42128367)

a $15 pledge gets a lot more expensive if you have to buy a new GPU in order to play.

Yup, which was why I didn't back Star Citizen. After years of "does it run Crysis" as a /. running gag, I was slightly worried about something built using CryEngine but cranking out an unfeasibly high number of polygons and giving massive freedom in camera views in a multi-polygon cockpit with various semi-transparent panels. Then I checked out the "Oculus Rift" that he said it was going to support. Binocular HD with perspective correction for curved views and stuff.

Ummm... that sounds pretty hefty computationally -- I don't think I'll have a computer that powerfully for another decade....

Guilt alleviation & non-game gaming Kickstarte (2)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | about a year ago | (#42125279)

Seeing as three of the four video game Kickstarters I gave money to were small amounts ($10-$20) mostly to assuage my guilt for pirating from the devs as a kid, I'm not entirely heartbroken if I don't see anything from them. The fourth was mostly because it looked awesome and they had a playable demo that convinced me to part with bigger chunk of change just because they looked like they could actually deliver, and I'm enjoying playing it right now (Project Giana).

So so far, no regrets on the game front.

Gaming in general, though, is different. I'll never give a damn cent to anything 2 Player Productions does again because we're STILL WAITING FOR THAT MINECRAFT DOCUMENTARY. Nor the guys from Extra Credits because seriously, guys? All I have to show for it is a sycophantic youtube video, a fuckton of Internet Drama over money that never saw a resolution from either side, and someone trying to sell me life insurance.

Kickstarter is a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42125979)

Its nothing more than digital pan handling. People beg for money for a product that may or may not come out and when it does come out if you paid for it already and it sucks then youre screwed.

Tim schafer being the worst offender. Here is a man who has worked for very big name developers, made a lot of games and had dozens of chance but he never could make it big time because his games are mediocre at best (and if you say monkey island or one of those then youre full of shit because he didnt single handedly write and create and publish and develop those games, he was just a figure head and looking back now they did suck but its all we had at the time. Kind of like how transformers was awesome as a kid but as an adult now its dull, boring and very poorly done cartoon). So he begs for money by basically saying "Hey all of my games are financial failures and I can get anyone to back me and I dont have the money to do it myself so would you give me money please?" thats as stupid as a guy who owns a car painting business and all he does is piss and shit on the cars people bring in so when he goes bankrupt he gets online and begs for money because he cant understand why no one likes his paint jobs.

So with his success at begging for money because all of the nostalgia nerds came out everyone is doing it now and trying to kickstart anything they can because its easy money. Because at the end of the day its all about money and nothing else. No one there cares about games or cares about gamers, they pluck the heart strings of your youth by talking nostalgia and remaking classic games and that kickstarter is their source for bringing games back to gamers and making it sound like if you donate money jesus will descend from heaven and take us all into eternal bliss. But really they just shit out a game to get your cash.

Re:Kickstarter is a joke. (4, Interesting)

BlueBlade (123303) | about a year ago | (#42126421)

Your comment is troll-ish and I probably shouldn't bother to reply, but Psychonauts is one of the best games I've ever played. It's so good I replay it every 2-3 years. For some reason, some gems never get the success they deserve, same with Beyond Good and Evil. Anyway if you've never played Psychonauts, give it a try, and prepare to be awed at its sheer inventiveness. Giant world cubes. Godzilla. Lake monsters (called Linda). Milkmen secret agents. Brain removing dentists. Stratetic war games against Napoleon. Mexican cage matches. Corrida. Meat circuses...

Hold on, I think I'll go reinstall it...

Re:Kickstarter is a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42126983)

Your comment is troll-ish and I probably shouldn't bother to reply, but Psychonauts is one of the best games I've ever played. It's so good I replay it every 2-3 years. For some reason, some gems never get the success they deserve, same with Beyond Good and Evil. Anyway if you've never played Psychonauts, give it a try, and prepare to be awed at its sheer inventiveness. Giant world cubes. Godzilla. Lake monsters (called Linda). Milkmen secret agents. Brain removing dentists. Stratetic war games against Napoleon. Mexican cage matches. Corrida. Meat circuses...

Hold on, I think I'll go reinstall it...

First of all, starting a response with "your comment might be trollish and I shouldn't" is basically like saying "you might have aids and I shouldn't" while inserting your penis. It begs the question.

Re:Kickstarter is a joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42127457)

Your comment is troll-ish and I probably shouldn't bother to reply, but Psychonauts is one of the best games I've ever played. It's so good I replay it every 2-3 years. For some reason, some gems never get the success they deserve, same with Beyond Good and Evil. Anyway if you've never played Psychonauts, give it a try, and prepare to be awed at its sheer inventiveness. Giant world cubes. Godzilla. Lake monsters (called Linda). Milkmen secret agents. Brain removing dentists. Stratetic war games against Napoleon. Mexican cage matches. Corrida. Meat circuses...

Hold on, I think I'll go reinstall it...

you'll be happy to know that beyond good & evil 2 is on the rails.

Where to promote a Kickstarter project? (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about a year ago | (#42126447)

Okay, I'm not going to cite the project, because I don't want to look like an astroturfer, but where can one go to promote a Kickstarter project of more-than-niche interest?

I'm a minor backer of an embedded hardware Kickstarter project that doesn't appear to be likely to make its funding goal. I really think that it's a great project and I submitted a Slashdot article with little expectation that it would get picked up, and it didn't. The developer posted about his Kickstarter project to the core chipset forum (which is where I came across it), but that's too narrow of focus for this product.

I doubt that people that should be targeted for this are browsing through Kickstarter looking for projects to back. Any suggestions?

Re:Where to promote a Kickstarter project? (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#42144959)

Name it. Describe it. Don't be so shy.

The idea that gets shouted out is the one that will make it.
From what we know you might be calling for funding for a fish controlled Bill O'Reilly stimulator. You filthy pervert.

Re:Where to promote a Kickstarter project? (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about a year ago | (#42146197)

:-) Okay. It's called XDev ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1102382800/xdev-the-new-standard-in-hobby-development-boards?ref=live [kickstarter.com] ) . It's using an XMOS processor to develop a full-blown extensible embedded processing system. The developer is targeting it to address some deficiencies with the Arduino platform.

Re:Where to promote a Kickstarter project? (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#42152401)

Great. Sounds reasonable and ultimately feasible.
And now plug it wherever you go. Burn some Karma on it. /. runs a story every two days where you can mention it without being too off topic.
There also are other nerdling hangouts.

It's only astroturfing when you are a payed shill. I rave about the wonderful idea that is the Ouya wherever I go and I haven't even backed them(but I have preordered).

Also, the Ouya is a quite clever idea. Stock components and an already alive ecosystem.

Double Fine Adventure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42128373)

DFA isn't delayed. Rather, the schedule was moved in order to accomodate the extra content possible by all the surplus funding. The original date was October 2012; as far back as May, it was announced that the game would be released on 2nd quarter 2013 taking in account the new funding. TFA is mistaken.

Re:Double Fine Adventure (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42139179)

I really hope that the more successful projects don't succumb to an overwhelming need to meet the "estimated delivery date" of their crowd-funded project statements. As you mention, Double Fine Adventure was looking for $400k and had estimated it'd take a certain amount of time to make it. They wound up with more than $3.5m. Considerably bigger budget, which means they can do more, which will take more time.

Same with other games that have looked for a few hundred grand or a million -- and gotten several million. I'd rather those guys -- as long as they keep updating the community with meaningful stuff -- take the time to make something great; rather than try to cram it all in by a certain date.

Except that August was never Double Fine's release (2)

boondaburrah (1748490) | about a year ago | (#42129557)

Double Fine listed "October 2012" as their release, not August. Granted they've passed that now, but as a commenter before me said: communication is key. Since I see they're honest-to-god working on it, I'm not mad.

Double Fine Adventure was my first video game kickstarter - so I'm sort of using it as a measuring stick before I help fund other games. So far I don't feel burned - and I'm still excited for when it eventually does come out, so I think they're doing something right. It should be possible for things like this to pick up in the future.

I mostly just like the idea that the companies get funded without someone coming in and saying "hurr, we need to add more guns to this game for it to sell." "But it's a puzzle game!" "LOL Do it anyway! People Like Call of Duty!"

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